“This feels like a fitting testament to my influence on you”
So says Kristin, peering over her desk and across the hallway at me. I am sat on a stool, legs crossed, kindle perched on my knee, pink dye re-developing the ends of my hair.
I am slowly creeping my way through Fateheart, a sequel that Kristin has written to follow on from Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea. Actually, I am reading at a decent pace, aided both by a very good story and being a fortnight on from first being taken down by an infection and still not quite being recovered. It’s just that these books taken together are around a thousand pages long…
I will remember this month mostly for the breathless excitement of Kristin and Sarah exchanging conversations about characters as Sarah got through both books ahead of me. There’s nothing quite like having the actual author resident in your house for additional details, clarification and occasional pleas for spoilers.
Since being published onto the internet, a band of loyal devotees of the original book have slowly made their way to discovering Fateheart and news of people doodling quotes in drama class and purchasing stuffed chickens they’ve named after characters has seasoned our January in a delightful way.
Sarah now refers to The Starless Sea as “the prequel”, and though not even halfway through Fateheart I am inclined to agree. My favourite parts of reading so far are recognising Kristin’s gestures in the way she has written her characters, and the incorporation of objects that live in our house into a vast underground fantasy world which now has a life of its own.
Kristin first read this book visiting me last summer ahead of deciding to come and live here, and wrote the sequel in the span of six weeks, doing final edits ahead of Christmas. It is astonishing to me that a work of such depth could come into being like this, but I am glad of it.
I am feeling very grateful for the rhythms we have settled into as a house. It hasn’t yet been six months, but already life here seems deeply familiar. In January we went to Notty House, saw Rocky Horror together, celebrated Burns Night, and took it in turns to be ill. I am enjoying our trade of expressions (“we schmove”), tears, friends, music, and now, book references.
In the midst of what seems ordinary, there are whole new worlds which open up and are there to explore. Kristin and Sarah are good explorers. They challenge my linear tendencies. Somewhere in the Starless Sea it says “change is what a story is”. Wherever I am in the thousand or so pages of story at the moment, I am grateful for it and hopeful for opportunities to explore.